National partner profile: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Organisation details

International Forum of Solidarity EMMAUS
Duje bb, 74 207 Klokotnica
Doboj Istok, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Contact: Elmedin Škrebo (Coach Manager)


IFS EMMAUS work with homeless men and women, youth and the elderly, refugees, displaced people, illegal migrants, victims of human trafficking, and those affected by mental health problems, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS. The football programme currently only works with men, but they are hoping to welcome women soon.


Doboj Istok, Sarajevo, and Srebrenica



International Forum of Solidarity EMMAUS (Međunarodni forum solidarnosti EMMAUS), one of the largest NGOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was established in 1999 in Gračanica with the aim of providing assistance to all vulnerable groups and minorities in the country. Street football is one part of their extensive programme of activities and services that address marginalisation.

They first brought a team to the Homeless World Cup in 2012, when the tournament was hosted in Mexico City.

Their national ambassador is Muhamed Bešić, Bosnian national football player and FC Everton defensive midfielder.

Through their work across Bosnia and Herzegovina and the wider region, IFS EMMAUS  has implemented a variety of projects providing assistance for thousands of people, including refugees and displaced persons, illegal migrants, victims of human trafficking, elderly people, youth, men and women who suffer from homelessness, mental health problems, substance abuse, and people affected by HIV/AIDS. Their participants come from all ethnic and religious backgrounds, and IFS EMMAUS  is proud to foster peace-building as part of their activities. The participants work on developing their personal and life skills, team spirit, and fellowship.

IFS EMMAUS  are a member of the international organisation EMMAUS International. They work in partnership with FC Sarajevo and FC Široki Brijeg (two professional football clubs). In 2014, the Bosnian Homeless World Cup Team was supported by their ambassador and official Bosnian national team player Muhamed Bešić, who paid for the players’ flight tickets to Chile and hosted the homeless players after their return.

They also have a close relationship with the Homeless FA, the Homeless World Cup’s National Partner in England, with whom they often hold football and life skills training sessions.

Player profiles & Stories

Mission statement


International Forum of Solidarity EMMAUS believe in providing resources so that everyone can fulfil their basic needs and live in freedom and dignity. They believe that every person, every society, and every nation can learn from and support one another through exchange and mutual solidarity.

They believe that every person, every society, and every nation can learn from and support one another through exchange and mutual solidarity.

Goals for the future


To expand their network of partners across the country and outside its borders

Social Inclusion

To keep and increase the level of engagement from former participants and involve them in the process of reaching out to new participants

Additional information

Partner since


Football Activities

The organisation run one training session a week, and they organise and participate in European and international events and tournaments.

Team selection

They select 25 people who complete a training programme, and then the final eight are selected to compete at the Homeless World Cup.

Non-football services

IFS EMMAUS  run a reception centre to offer support to orphans, former prisoners, elderly men and women, and people with long-term illnesses; programmes for refugees; food and first aid delivery for displaced families; house building programmes; programmes against human trafficking; and international humanitarian action in Burkina Faso. They select 25 people who complete a training programme, and then the final eight are selected to compete at the Homeless World Cup.

Participants challenges

Participants deal with refugee status, substance abuse, orphanhood, war trauma, violence, human trafficking, and social isolation.

Country challenges

The country has still not fully recovered from the civil war in the 1990s and many people remain displaced or living in informal collective settlements. Internal ethnic divisions render much of the state apparatus inefficient and cause tensions between different ethnic groups.

Another problem is the lack of structural reforms which keep the population in poverty. The current overall unemployment rate is a very high 44.3%, and current youth unemployment rate is 62.8% (CIA, 2014).

Homlessness definition

Beskućnici (2011), a regional NGO tackling homelessness, defines a homeless person as a person without a roof.


Homelessness Statistics

The government does not keep any official records, but the number of homeless people is believed to be rising (Save the Children). A big problem are refugees and internally displaced persons, whose safe return has often not been granted – 70% of those who returned to the country after the war live on the edge of survival, and 143,000 of them are believed to be homeless, although they are often able to live with their relatives and friends due to the high level of solidarity across the country (SOS Djecija Sela, 2010).

Go behind the scenes with our National Partners

Join the Supporters Club and play your part in changing the lives of homeless people.

Membership gives you access to exclusive stories and additional information about these remarkable organisations, each of whom use the power of football in different ways to help homeless and socially disadvantaged people.

Become a supporter
The Game is Real

Supported by: